Out with the old…but how?

By Robin Goldsworthy

Well, today is the last day of 2009. You have less than 24 hours to complete this past year’s resolutions, so you’d better start moving. Did you lose those unwanted pounds? Spend more time with the family? Use that gym membership? If you didn’t, no worries: you’re in good company. Statistically speaking, as a nation we generally enter the new year with firm resolve that for most of us disintegrates long before we attain those goals. But we’re also a lucky nation and particularly a lucky area. We have two YMCAs close to us that offer everything from exercise classes to dance lessons. I joined last year and until starting the paper was a regular on Friday and Saturday mornings for exercise and Monday evenings for yoga. We also have two Curves centers which, according to its website, provide a total body workout in just 30 minutes. So there is hope and direction.

But there is one area that I definitely need help and am having trouble finding it.

Have you seen the program called “Hoarders”? It’s about people who can’t let go of anything. Envelopes that mail came in, old cans, newspapers, etc. They just can’t throw that stuff out. My problem is that I want to get rid of stuff, but don’t know how.

Growing up, we always had a donation box for old clothes that went to charity. We would toss in those things that didn’t fit anymore, my mom would sort through it then we’d leave on the front porch for St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill to pick up. Now I find myself at a cross roads as to what the charities actually want. What about a nice blouse that has a stain on it? Throw it away or give to charity? Same thing with jeans that you caught on something and tore a hole in them. Toss or donate?

And what about old pots and pans that you don’t use anymore? Atari games? Costume jewelry?

I think some of this doubt about what to give away dates back to when Steve and I were moving from our house on Altura and we decided that we’d buy new furniture for our new home. So we left our old couch, ottoman and loveseat on the front driveway and asked a charity to come by and pick it up. Much to our surprise (and embarrassment) they didn’t want it all – they actually left some of the pieces behind. This was furniture that we and our friends sat on every day and apparently it was considered so ratty that a charitable institution didn’t have use for it.

Over the years we’ve tried having garage sales to see what items we could sell. After hearing stories of friends who had made hundreds of dollars, it seemed that with very little effort we could not only clean out the garage, but we could also make a couple of dollars for a few hours work.


You have to haul the stuff out, clean it up, try and figure a price for it, set it out and then hope someone wants to purchase it for something close to what you’re asking.

We’ve taken part in two garage sales in 20 years and made a total of about $42. Seriously. Meaning, of course, that we still had the majority of the items we had put out.

So again I ask the question of what to do with the items that need to leave my house but I have no idea where to send them.

Perhaps I should do what my mother did. She waited until she sold her house in 1993 and then sold it completely furnished – she just left everything. However, in addition to leaving behind the couch and dining room set she left behind my baby book.

My baby book.

And people wonder why I’m in therapy.

Seriously, I hope you all have a safe and happy new year. New year, new decade. Lots to look forward to.